As I prepare to retire, I have these stories to pass down, although I doubt my children or their children will care.  The same is true of my own life’s legacy, public and private.  

Memories fade, even of those dearest to us.  That’s how it should be, probably.  Mom passed down her boxes of memorabilia, but I wonder if they are worth saving for future generations.  Do we need more than a handful of posed snapshots, outlines, caricatures, and legends?  Does it matter whether Mom married because she was pregnant or whether she was a virgin?  It is time to move on. 

I hope to see my grandchildren learn and grow.  I hope as adults that they are kind, and lucky, funny and resourceful, and find the world hospitable and wide.  I imagine their gifts of body and soul.  I imagine them beyond imagining, yet always familiar.  I hope they live full lives, involved in lives.  I hope that they find their own balance between service, ambition and love.  And should they read these words, that they will recognize something of themselves in me, as well as in their parents, Connie, and their many-sided heritage.

Grandee, indeed.   Dayenu, dayenu!



DeWitt Henry

DeWitt Henry’s books include The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts (winner of the Peter Taylor Prize for the Novel); a trilogy in memoir concluding with Endings and Beginnings: Family Essays (MadHat Press, 2021); and a collection of notes and essays Sweet Majoram (MadHat  Press, 2018).  Poems have appeared in Ibbetson Street, On the Seawall, Plume, and others.  He was the founding editor of Ploughshares and is Professor Emeritus at Emerson College. Details at DeWitt recommends contributing to Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, September 12, 2021 - 22:20